So, yesterday I was driving home from some errands and I was listening to a very popular, mainstream Christian radio station. The woman dj was commenting on what a special day it was - to be celebrating the Inauguration on the same day we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. She said "If people in Heaven are allowed to look down on the affairs of our world, I would bet Martin Luther King Jr. is looking down today and is really proud of how far we've come."
His niece and I couldn't disagree with her more.
The most current stats on abortion in our country show that one of every two African American pregnancies ends in abortion. Half. HALF! This group is aborting itself out of existence! I doubt very much that MLK is proud of that, he who fought so hard for human justice, for equal rights for ALL American citizens.
Why am I bringing up abortion?
Because today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court Case Roe vs. Wade which legalized abortion in our country, and since then, the yearly abortion rate has risen to a steady 1.3 million abortions per year. But many will read that and roll their eyes, because we as a nation have become numb to statistics. Numb to the reality behind giant numbers like 1.3 million. And most of all, numb to the word "abortion." After all, what is an abortion? A medical procedure? A fundamental right? A moral conundrum?
Most basic dictionaries define abortion as: Induced termination of a pregnancy with destruction of the embryo or fetus.
Most medical dictionaries define it as: An operation or other procedure to terminate pregnancy before the fetus is viable.
(Hmm, so I wonder what it's called when a woman undergoes an operation or other procedure to terminate her pregnancy after the fetus is viable, which is still legal and available in 16 US states...?)
And while we're in the lexicon mood, let's take a closer look at that phrase "terminate pregnancy." Various medical and dictionary definitions exist for the term "pregnancy", but here are a few:
1. The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus.
2. The condition of carrying developing offspring within the body.
3. The period from conception to childbirth.
synonyms: maternity, gestation
So now that we've done some research on the verbal and medical definitions of these words, let's revisit my original question: "What is an abortion?"
We can accurately answer: An abortion is an operation or procedure which can take place anytime from the conception of offspring until the birth of that offspring that a woman voluntarily chooses to undergo in order to put an end to her current condition of carrying a developing human within her uterus, by destroying the gestating embryo or fetus.
Supporters of abortion get all up in arms when people define abortion as "Ending a life."
But the fact is... that's what an abortion is.
Seriously. For once, let's put semantics aside. When a woman is pregnant, she's carrying a new human life inside her womb. Call it a zygote. Call it an embryo. Call it a fetus. No matter which term you choose, the reality remains: it's a human with its own genetic code and it's alive. Ask any doctor in any hospital or clinic around the country and they'll tell you the same. And an abortion intentionally removes that human life from the mother's womb, thus ending its life. Sooooo.. you tell me how defining abortion as "ending a life" is in any way inaccurate.
The reason people turn their hearts and minds away from the realities of abortion is because it truly is too horrific to behold. Even many who are avidly pro-life cringe at the pictures of aborted fetuses. Myself included. It's too hard for anyone, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-whatever, to really internalize the reality of what it actually means when a pregnant woman goes into a building with a child in her womb, and leaves with her womb empty... her child dead in a pan or trashcan somewhere in the bowels of the building that her boyfriend, mom, friend, husband, sister, father, or unknown cabby is driving her away from. So people cover up the realities with gentle euphemisms, twisted language, empty words. And all too often, it works. For a time, at least. You know why?
Because language is powerful.
Words go to battle every day in wars of politics, morality, and philosophy. Weak words will be quickly forgotten, and profound words will live forever. Such immortal words include those of he whom we honored yesterday, Martin Luther King Jr:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
And he quotes the profound, immortal words of the Declaration of Independence, the creed upon which our nation was built:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
An unalienable right, endowed to men by their Creator.
Have you ever read the next few lines of the Declaration of Independence? The lines that immediately follow? Here ya go:
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
When they say "these ends" they're referring to those unalienable Rights - Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness - that were endowed to us by our Creator. Dr. King fought for those rights. He believed in America, and he believed that every single citizen deserved to have a fair shake at life. He worked for social justice, knowing that without an equal playing field for all, oppression would never end. Many battles have been victorious in securing social justice for African Americans, but today the war is being lost at an alarming pace.
Social justice begins in the womb, for if the most basic right to LIFE is not valued, all other human rights are robbed of their value as well. And this is a war that is being waged not just against African Americans, but against humanity as a whole.
Today, I remember the millions of Americans who have been legally killed since the legalization of abortion 40 years ago. And I will take a strong, vocal stance against this Holocaust. I will not be afraid to say abortion is morally abhorrent and I refuse to support it.
It's not always easy to take a polarized position on an issue that many say is "too complicated" for black and white answers. It's not always popular to say things that you know will potentially enrage certain friends or family members. It's not always fun to stand up to your peers and speak the truth when you know they may very well alienate or persecute you for it. But as hard as all those things may seem, it's not nearly as hard as it would be to stand by as a silent witness to a generation's genocide.
During the Holocaust in Germany, every single death executed by the Nazis was legal. It was sanctioned and supported by the government, propagated by Hitler who was voted into power by the German people. And the German people, because of their ignorance, their silence, their blindness to the realities of the horrors going on around them, were forever and deeply scarred by the scourge of these mass murders. After it was all said and done, and the Nazi regime had fallen, the German citizens were walked through the death camps where they saw first-hand the atrocities that were being carried out there just days earlier, in their own backyards. The Germans left these camps wailing and weeping for what had happened, their eyes finally opened... their hearts broken.
America, how many more of our citizens must be slaughtered before the scales will fall from our eyes? When will we be freed from this oppression? When will we be walked through the halls of the abortion mills and be horrified by what we see? When will we finally stand up for the voiceless and say "No more"? When will be be strong enough to defend the weakest among us?
When will we live up to our nation's anthem and truly be "the land of the free and the home of the brave"?